The Mets must avoid signing fool’s gold with Keuchel and Kimbrel

In The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R Tolkien wrote that “All that is gold does not glitter.”

Certainly, there is a lot of gold to be chased in the MLB these days. The gold that everyone is chasing from the second they begin the season is to raise the gold-plated Commissioner’s Trophy as World Series Champion. Of course, the rings that come with are becoming more over-studded with diamonds now rather than gold, but there is still gold to be found in them. Then there is the gold that is typically found in the offseason, which is the free agent market. The Mets found their gold this offseason by trading for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, two absolute studs on the diamond.

For teams this season though, there is a rare opportunity to find gold during the season on the free agent market. This gold comes in the form of Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. Both of those pitchers are still without a home due to their asking prices not being on par with what teams want, and that they are both over 30. Their age should not deter teams from them, because although they come with their own individual faults, they are both very talented players. So talented in fact, that many Mets fans are clamoring for the services of Keuchel. While Keuchel is certainly very shiny to the eye of a Mets fan desperate for better pitching, he is not the solution that the team needs at the moment.

As for starter’s ERA, the Mets have done about average in terms of what the rest of the MLB has done. Back to back underwhelming starts from Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler certainly contributed to their 16th-best starters ERA of 4.30. The bullpen, as it has been widely discussed, has been a massive weak spot for the team so far this season. The silver lining in that however is that the entire NL East is in the bottom 10 of MLB bullpen ERA.

With that information known, it should be evident that the Mets ought not to focus their energy on acquiring Keuchel at the moment. They most likely sign Kimbrel either, because it is hard to imagine Kimbrel accepting a role other than closer at this stage of his career. That is with good reason, as he has 333 saves to his name so far. The Mets had their opportunity to capitalize on the strong crop of free agent relievers this offseason, and came away with Jeurys Familia. While Familia certainly helps, they could have done better. As a result on swinging and missing on free agents such as Adam Ottavino, the team has a bullpen ERA of 6.25.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for the bullpen to improve this season, and with arms like Seth Lugo, you would expect them to. Signing Keuchel or Kimbrel is not the solution for this team however. Now, more than ever, is the time to avoid signing players simply because you are linked with them in a headline. Instead, they will have to be patient and wait for the trade deadline.

14 comments for “The Mets must avoid signing fool’s gold with Keuchel and Kimbrel

  1. April 13, 2019 at 8:54 am

    So trade assets for rentals instead of just signing guys for money? Lol

  2. gjbold
    April 13, 2019 at 9:01 am

    The Mets starting staff is starting to round into form,as we await the latest outing of Jason Vargas…..I like what I see from all the other starters,personally I am waiting for next week in Philly,the Met offense could rock philly as we have done many times before…I am sure Harper and the other phils will be trying to test the Mets arms………

  3. April 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

    I do not agree here ye sir… watch Vargas stink up the joint in Atlanta today. This could be a Keuchel start instead.
    The Mets right now probably have better pitching than the Phils and Braves, who have fine lineups and all around good teams, perhaps better hitting than the Nats. However,add Keuchel and that rotation starts to scare folks throughout the league > Degrom, Thor, Matz, Wheeler, and Keuchel vs every other team’s 5th starter ?? That is hot stuff.
    With the offense being far better than last year, this could be a 100 win team with health. Vargas to the pen, I say, Vargas to the pen !

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy

    • Chris B
      April 13, 2019 at 9:27 am

      I’m inclined to agree that the Mets do not *need* to sign these players. It would be a desperation move to offer a fat stack and many years.

      BVW was in the booth the other night and recognized that those players would make the Mets better – of course they would. But their value is not worth the asking price. If you pay these guys now, you are saying “this is final form of the team this year” Who’s to say that there won’t be a better option available at the trade deadline?

      Keep in mind that signing one of these players before the draft means giving up a first Rd pick.

      Also keep in mind that Wheeler will be in demand of a contract after this season, that would be a lot of $ tied up in three starters (if they sign Keuchel).

    • MattyMets
      April 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      I’m really surprised that the Braves didn’t sign one of these two in the off-season. So mich promise, a great foundation of young players, a new stadium and deep pockets. Yet, they say on their hands this off-season other than signing Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal and bringing back Nick Markakis. If I were a Braves fan, I’d be pissed.

      That said, I don’t think that either of these two makes sense for the Mets. Yes they would be upgrades for any team, but at what cost? The bullpen will be fine and we’ll have a better sense of if the rotation needs reinforcement by June or July.

    • Dave
      April 13, 2019 at 11:17 pm

      I agree, yes!!

  4. Joe Gomes
    April 13, 2019 at 10:14 am

    If anything, Vargas replacement can be from within. It is a #5 starter that we are replacing, not an ace type.

  5. Metsense
    April 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Keuchel would slot in after Wheeler and before Matz and reduce Vargas to a Longman in the bullpen. He would solidify the rotation. The priority though is first sign wheeler then offer Keuchel a one-year deal even if you slightly over pay because a World Series appearance makes the Mets a lot of money. I guess it’s going to be, who is going to Blink first.
    As the season goes, the starting pitchers will start feeding off each other. The bullpen will be alright if Callaway would only regulate the roles and stop being an arsonist. Non-save and non hold situations should be handled by the second-tier relievers not generally the first tear relievers.

  6. Mike Walczak
    April 13, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I think the question should be, do we want Wheeler or Keuchel? Syndergaard is also going to get paid. It’s all about balancing the contracts.

    We’ve got Cespedes, but thank Gid it is not Chris Davis. Not only being Mr. Ohfer, he is probably the biggest boat anchor and worst contract ever.

  7. April 13, 2019 at 11:30 am

    I think the Mets can find a middle to back end of the rotation starter at the deadline. I think signing Kimbrel to a 2 or 3 year deal is the way to go. There won’t be a reliever of his quality available at the deadline. Justin Wilson,Familia,Kimbrel and Diaz would make a deep and talented bullpen. Kimbrel would be the setup man with also opportunities to close.

    • José
      April 13, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Calling the pen “deep and talented” after adding K1 would be an understatement; it would be lights-out. And we’ve seen in recent post seasons that a lights-out bullpen can be even more important than strong starting rotation.

      I think a young guy like Diaz, who already has plenty of SVs under his belt, would be gracious enough to let K1 be the stud he wants/needs to be.

      As for K2, please don’t make us suffer watching Vargas until the trading deadline. Even if their hitting didn’t turn out among the best, a pitching staff with K1 and K2 would be bullet proof

      Who says that either K1 or K2 should be given mutli-years? Offer them each a thick and juicy one-year. What’s the downside?

      It’s just monopoly money

  8. TexasGusCC
    April 13, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    How about Bud Norris? His minor league deal last week with St. Louis fell through, and while he isn’t a sexy name, he’s been a good performer and is tested mettle. There’s no QO, he will be cheap (music to Couponian ears) and is coming off a bad year after being consistently good for every season since becoming a reliever.

    • holmer
      April 13, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Bud Norris types are the ones I’d like to see the Mets pursue. After watching the Vargas disaster tonight followed by Oswalt the Mets do need to get better production from #5. I believe Keuchel will cost the Mets a draft pick as well. Yes, I would like to see a Norris type of guy sign.

      • TexasGusCC
        April 14, 2019 at 2:14 am

        It would allow them to put Lugo in the rotation, the true fifth best starter on this team.

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